Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mexico City, Day 1

Paul said he loves living in Mexico City because it's not as organizado as the U.S.  And you certainly feel that sense of "disorganization" in his charmingly chaotic neighborhood called Condesa.

Walking Condesa is a delight of sight, smell, and sound.
We've been here for just a day, and I'm struck by the patchwork quality of the architecture.  Also, there's a non-linear nature to the car- and foot-traffic, a bohemian flair to the variety of ways people dress, and a plethora of personas in the streets doing everything from eating in the numerous sidewalk cafes to selling magazines, candy, fruit, and shoeshines.  A guy ringing a bell walking down the street, Paul told us, was signaling to people he would sharpen their knives.  A honking noise let people know they could bring their garbage out to the truck rolling through the 'hood.

In Paul's apartment building, a neighbor's phone ringing might send you rushing to your own phone.  Last night at 10:30 p.m., as I lay in the cool sheets with the window open to the dark night, I could hear a little kid's sparkling laughter, a neighbor's salsa music, and something that sounded like banging on a pan.  Funny how if this were happening in my own neighborhood, I might be annoyed.  But here I accept it as the colorful nature of this place.  (That's a good reminder to live at home as though I'm on vacation, a mindset I love to cultivate.)

Paul took us into a non-descript building that turned out to be a huge mercado selling every meat, fruit, and vegetable you could imagine in what looked like hundreds of stalls.  The multicolored variety was exciting to behold.  We bought chicken fillets cut and pounded for us on the spot, and avocados bigger and more flavorful than any I've tasted in agriculturally-rich California.

Mexico City has the largest city population in the world after Tokyo and Seoul.
Given all this tumult, the streets we've walked on in Condesa and Roma neighborhoods are suprisingly clean.  This morning as Paul and I walked to his yoga-qigong class, I noticed that a liquid smelling of disinfectant had been poured around the streetlight poles, apparently to wash away dog pee.  (Dogs on leashes of all sizes are ubiquitous here.)

It's also not hot and humid, as I expected.  In the morning I needed a light sweater.  In the afternoon, it probably got into the mid-80s, but in the shade it was quite cool.  Paul ascribed that, in part, to the high altitude.  Compared to much of Mexico, the air here is rather dry.

My new discovery is the michelada.  It's about one-fifth lime juice and the rest beer, served in a chilled glass rimmed with chunky salt. Can you say deliciosa? Nothing like drinking a michelada at a sidewalk cafe, witnessing bright and animated dis-organizado.

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